When Officer David Sanborn puts on the uniform of the Newport Beach Police Department every day, he looks like most other cops in town. He has a badge, a gun and he wears the standard issue deep blue uniform just like other Newport Beach officers.
But Sanborn has a few special weapons in his arsenal you won’t notice at first glance.
He is the Newport Police Department’s resident TV producer and photographer.
And Sanborn is not taking dimly lit, gritty mug shots or producing the kind of boring, shaky and bad editing productions that have been the hallmark of many police departments over the years Sanborn’s skills in producing professional media projects are just as finely honed as his skills keeping the streets safe.
Like most law enforcement agencies, the Newport PD has a need to produce in-house videos and photography that help the department do its job. It’s the usual fare: community outreach, training and other assorted productions. But Sanborn’s work and creativity stand out. His creative flair and talent are giving the NBPD the kind of professional touch and attention that usually costs a department a hefty fee to an outside media company.
In fact, Sanborn is in the media business. Even though he is doing it from inside the Newport Beach Police Department.
Sanborn grew up in Northern California and says he had always been a would-be filmmaker and photographer. He grew up with a camera and making movies always on his mind.
“I got my first camera at 7,” he says, and his love of photography and media work has never waned.
He enrolled in a special arts high school, and he even did some TV and video production work in his hometown of Santa Rosa, at a small TV station. While in high school he also honed his skills attending classes at the Academy of Art in San Francisco before heading south to get a college degree from UCLA.
At UCLA Sanborn had every intention of going into a career in the media business. He applied to get into the UCLA film and television program. But UCLA turned him down.
“They said I had too much experience,” he said.
Despite the disappointment of not being accepted officially into UCLA’s photography and film department, Sanborn continued to pursue his creative media side taking photography, video and film classes at the school.
But at the same time, Sanborn’s career in law enforcement was getting started: he was working his way through school as a dispatcher and student officer on campus. After graduation he applied to various police agencies and Newport Beach accepted him. He made it though the academy six years ago, and has been with the department since. He runs a small photography business on the side in his free time.
Then, he says, “one day, a sergeant had heard about my background and just sort of tapped me on the shoulder.”
And a media production star was born.
His fellow officers occasionally rib him and have dubbed him the “video producer” giving him a cubicle plaque to signify it. His actual police job title is “Environmental Abatement Officer.” This beat has to do with noise complaints and other forms of environmental enforcement issues in the city.
Last week, Sanborn premiered his latest video project. The production shows this cop has a lot more inside him than official, serious police business. The short entertaining video showcases the Department’s 29th Citizen Police Academy – a long-running program that allows local residents to spend 12 weeks immersed in all the areas of police work here, to better understand what goes into keeping the city safe.
Dave says he has received nothing but positive feedback from inside the department and out.
“The Chief even thought the Breakfast Appreciation Video was awesome,” he says.
Sanborn believes he has the best of both worlds, doing police work and being able to use his creative talents as well.
“If someone asked me to do a movie and gave me a million dollars I’d be very interested, sure” he says. But he quickly adds that he’s just as passionate about doing his job protecting and serving the residents of Newport Beach – and he plans on keeping his day job for the foreseeable future.
For more of Officer David Sanborn’s video work go to the Newport Beach Police Department Youtube Channel.